Client loyalty is a topic about which advisors and their firms talk frequently. The Spectrem study shows how investors view their own loyalty.
Is an investor loyal to his advisor, or is he loyal to the company his advisor works for?
That’s the question at the core of Spectrem Group’s new study Client Loyalty Among Affluent Investors. The study examines the dichotomy of investor loyalty between the advisor with whom they do business and the company that advisor represents.
Making the issue of loyalty to company or advisor more vexing is that there is an even split among investors as to which way they would go. Exactly 50 percent of investors say they would stay with the firm if their advisor left, while 50 percent said they would move with the investor because that relationship is more important to them than the firm for which they work.
There are even only slight variations based on wealth level. While Millionaires (those with a net worth between $1 million and $5 million) and Ultra High Net Worth investors (with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million) are indeed evenly split, the Mass Affluent investors (with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million) lean slightly toward preferring to stay with the firm.
It is possible that the Mass Affluent, a segment that skews younger, might not have the same amount of time invested in the relationship with the advisor, making the choice to stay with the firm more attractive.
Two-thirds of investors who prefer to stay with the firm do so because the safety and brand name of the company is more important than the relationship with the advisor.
Our study examines investor loyalty to all sorts of businesses outside of the investment community, including airlines, hotels, grocery stores and other types of retailers. But the relationship between an investor and an advisor is far more personal than the relationship any consumer has with an individual at any of those other types of businesses.
Investors were asked to judge their level of loyalty overall, to either a company or to a person within the brand or company. Overall, 42 percent of investors said their loyalty is to a person within the company, 34 percent said their loyalty is to the brand, and 25 percent said neither wins out.
Segmented by advisor dependency, investors who consider themselves very advisor dependent are far more loyal to that person than to the brand (52 percent of 26 percent) while Self-Directed investors who use advisors only for significant life events are more likely to be loyal to the brand (40 percent to 30 percent).
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.